Several months after her murder on February 24, Jenna Frank’s death is still being investigated. On May 17, the FBI and Jacksonville police announced they are offering a total of $15,000 for information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of Franks’ killer or killers.
Franks, 34, was a member of the Onslow County LGBTQ+ Community Center in North Carolina.
As is the case with many transgender or nonbinary deaths, Franks was misgendered repeatedly in the official police reports. According to the Humans Rights Campaign (HRC), more than seventy-five percent of gender expansive persons are misgendered or dead-named by law enforcement and media.
The FBI, which is offering $10,000 of the overall reward funds, emphasizes that Franks could very likely be the victim of a hate crime.
“Jenna was a beloved member of the LGBTQ+ community and her absence has been felt by her friends and family members.” FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Wells says. “We do not believe this was a random act. There is a strong possibility the person who did this continues to work and/or live in the community. We believe someone has information to help us get justice for Jenna and her family.”
The threat of continued violence to transgender women by the same individual is one that the Jacksonville police are also taking very seriously. The twenty-fifth transgender person killed in 2021 made headlines on May 19. Serenity Hollis, a twenty-four year old woman, was, just like Franks, misgendered by police and media outlets.
Hollis resided in Georgia and was the third transgender woman shot to death there in 2021. Similar to Franks, she also lived in a rural area that was prone to LGBTQ harassment by the general population.
Franks is survived by her sister, Amber Franks, who is creating a nonprofit in her sister’s name.
“Everyone I have spoken with, especially at her memorial service, said that she was a delight to be with,” says Onslow County LGBTQ+ Community Center Director of Communications, Samuel Johnson. “She was an amazing person inside and out. I still cannot fathom that this happened.
“Being here my whole life I never thought anything like this could happen,” Johnson continues. “It’s taken us all aback for just a little bit, but we’re still here and we’re still pushing forward.”
To contact the FBI about Franks’ case, call 704-672-6100 and to contact the Jacksonville police, call 910-938-3273.
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